November 15, 2013

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After the meetings of the CLRN in Austin it has become clear to me that the only way in which I will become more engaged with my dissertation and finally be able finish the proposal, and to actually enjoy my writing is by reducing my focus and address perhaps two or three themes that bring together the different chapters/articles. It is also clear to me that I really don't want to homogenize the population I am speaking and although I will recognize issues of inequality and stratification in society, I need to focus more on the specific case studies and personal stories of the latino/hispanic teens from my study. Identity construction, flow, flux, and creativity and agency can be the them that crosses the settings I am analyzing: family, afterschool, and social network sites. Understanding how these youth develop their personal identities across this settings and how they deal with issues of biculturalism and assimilation to american society could be productive.

Tracing identity flows, changes across different sites. Understanding the kind of identity work, articulation,that latino/hispanic youth develops across different sites and they different media practices. Perhaps if I just focus on identity and perhaps also talking about new media literacies I would be able to elaborate a nice argument around creativity, agency, new media practices among latino/hispanic youth. How do they navigate the two worlds of their parents country of origin and the USA. And furthermore, how do they navigate the online and the interconnected world of social media and social networked sites.

IT might be interesting to play with the idea of the journey of this families. Given that the sample of teens is mostly 1st and 2nd generation, it can be said that they and their families are still in their immigrant journey. In this journey, besides migrating to a new country, they will also migrate to a digital world of social network sites and other online spaces where they can interact, socialize. An important question to ask and to answer is how latino/hispanic immigrant youth are also digital natives, and the kind of new media practices they develop, their identities, their agency, autonomy and creativity across three different sites that have become important in their everyday life. Young latinos(as) are straddling perhpas not between two worlds, but many worlds. Digital technologies, new media are allowing them to navigate these worlds in a particular way. While they navigate they also develop identities.

Home identity, peers identity, internet identities, school identity, new country identity, digital media production identities, social network sites identity.

How do they negotiate this identities across settings? How does their predispostions, family backgrounds, SES, generational status, parental education, influence the development of these identities, of the practices developed with digital media?

The contribution of the dissertation is the case studies, the stories of creative agency and autonomy of these young latin(o)as. Also, the diversity of cases, identities, and as well identities, might enrich. It will bring light to the potential of digital media for the immigrant experience, the latino/hispanics. It will help to understand the practices of a growing sector of the population.

The main theme remains the topic of youth, digital media, and practices. And the construction of the self in post-modernity. Because of the immigrant situation it also addresses biculturalism and issues of assimilation and acculturation.

The study focuses on the agency of these teens, in their perspective of their everyday life, and how they live their experiences growing up in a new country using digital media.

Still considering if describing observed and reported new media literacies could be useful or not for this project. If I include them, I will have to mention the lack of them, and the weakness of the literacies that these latino youth developed. There is no way to measure them. But they can definitely be described as skills that these youth developed. As sociocultural practices as well.

My key words need to be simplified to: identity, latino, hispanics, youth, creativity, new media, practices, afterschool, home, family, social network sites, social media, internet.